Syrian opposition sources say al-Qaeda-linked Syrian rebels, known as the Al-Nusra Front, have taken over areas along the Israeli-Syrian border and have recently been spotted using UN cars to conduct terror operations.
According to the sources, the Al-Nusra Front has seized large swaths of the southern Golan Heights and has used UN cars during attacks against Assad’s army near the city of Daraa in southwestern Syria - a worrying sign of the capabilities of the Syrian al-Qaeda branch.
The Syrian opposition sources claimed the use of the UN vehicles was part of a double car explosion attack. The terrorist behind the attack, Abu Khattab al-Muhajir, was able to exit the vehicle before it exploded.
The UN car was the second of the two vehicles to explode and led to the deaths of two of Assad’s men who were not killed from the first explosion.
The al-Nusra Front uploaded photos documenting the attack to their Twitter account on Wednesday. The photos depict the major-general of the group, Abu G'libib, wiring the explosives himself.
The photographs depicting the usage of the UN car were also aired by state television of the Assad regime.
The UN responded to the attack and said, "using UN equipment by Jabhat al-Nusra to carry out terrorist acts is unacceptable."
In recent weeks, difficult battles have broken out between the rebels and Assad’s army near the city of al-Sheikh Meskin located in the southern suburbs of Daraa where the attack using the UN vehicles took place.
According to the Al Akhbar newspaper, which identifies with Hezbollah, the city of al-Sheikh Meskin is considered to be a red line for the Assad regime, which cannot allow itself to lose control of the city as it threatens a loss of control to the main road that leads from the capital of Damascus to the south.
If Assad’s regime would lose control in al-Sheikh Meskin, it could be disconnected from its supply line reaching Daraa.
Concern of an impending vehicle attack arose in recent months after photos released in September 2014 showed a UNDOF peacekeeping vehicle in the Golan with a black flag representing al-Qaeda and the Al-Nusra front raised on top.
The flag was taken as a sign that the vehicle’s drivers had been taken captive or killed by the extreme Jihadists.
Around the same time, members of the Al-Nusra Front were seen near abandoned cars in the surrounding area of Quneitra, close to the time the terror organization had succeeded in taking over the Quneitra Crossing from Assad’s army.
After conquering the crossing, the Al-Nusra Front kidnapped 44 UN peacekeepers from the Philippines. Dozens of the UN forces were able to escape yet this was not the first time that UN peacekeepers had been kidnapped by terrorists near the Israeli-Syrian border.